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Nothing lasted very long in Lamoine … or Arup.

Unless you want to talk about the schoolhouse.

It’s still standing after 100 years.

Long after Arup was platted.

Long after Arup became Lamoine.

And long after Lamoine became deserted when the railroad took a pass on the little town.

lamoine schoolhouse

Lamoine was an “excellent trading point just north of Waterville” and boasted of several stores and a blacksmith shop, wrote Honor L. Wilhelm in The Coast, a monthly magazine dedicated to news in Washington State.

“It is surrounded by a magnificent country, and a fine crop of wheat has rewarded the efforts of the farmers this year. The place has a daily mail by stage, with free mail delivery along the stage line.”

Sounds like home

Arup, according to Wikipedia, was platted and filed on November 20, 1905, by an immigrant farmer named Nels P. Nelson, who born in a little town called Aarup in Denmark.

Nels settled the area, hoping the railroad would run through and his little town would experience a boon.

Alas, it was not to be.

The menfolk met in Spokane to plan the route from the River City into the Big Bend, necessitating almost 100 miles of track, the jobs to get it down and the rich economy that would flow through the area with the railway. No question, the railroad was a big deal for the local economy, but towns in the outlying areas were forced to beg for their share of the spoils.

The Waterville Press, quoted in the January 30, 1906, edition of the Spokane Chronicle, wrote that representatives from St. Andrews, Meld, Jenn and Leahy traveled to Spokane to meet with the builders.

“Now the proper thing to do is for Waterville, Douglas, Farmer, Arup, Buckingham, Dyer and all the country benefited to get together and send representatives to meet with them and see what can be done to get them in here,” the Press’s editorial team pleaded.

“As soon as they reach St. Andrews it would be plain sailing to swing around the head of the coulee, catch all the points mentioned and reach Waterville.”

The Great Northern Railway bypassed the little town, however, and built through Withrow.

Arup disappeared from historical records some time between 1906 and 1909, says Wikipedia, and the name “Lamoine” pops up.

Something smells fishy

The little town did get itself a post office, dance hall, hardware store, blacksmith shop, feed store and — crack the bat! — a baseball team.

Nothing about that is abnormal.

The name change is.

When the townfolk were discussing the town in the general store, reported W.H. Murray, the publisher of the Withrow Banner, they latched onto a new name by happenstance.

A man named Bragg reached to the shelf and took down a can of sardines labelled “Lamoine” asking: “What is the matter with that as a name for the town?

What indeed?

The suggestion was approved.

But when the railway officials decided in 1909 to bypass Arup/Lamoine, the post office closed.

One hundred years later, it’s ranchland and all that remains is the well preserved schoolhouse.

Not a cloud in the sky

A snowstorm threatened to strike all weekend long.

Bella and I spent a couple nights in Oroville with a friend and, after driving through a blistering Rocky Mountain blizzard one month earlier, we were not looking forward to another white-knuckle route home.

We woke up to nothing more than a skiff (as we call a couple of inches in Newfoundland) but I made the executive decision to bypass Disautel Pass, south of Omak.

We busted down the 97 and headed for Brewster. It struck me then to pull my Washington State atlas out of the seat pocket and make the side trip worth it.

This was my first trip to the Lamoine schoolhouse and the snow was deep and glistening in the morning sun.

There was no trudging through the deep drifts to get closer, though, so I jumped back in the truck, bound for return trips to Highland Road and Govan, which never disappoint.

Here’s a little gallery of the trip, complete with one thrilled Maremma sheepdog rolling around in the snow:

A new friend

And one angry, worried husband.

I can’t really say that I blame him.

My adventures have gotten me into trouble. There was the time I blew a tire (hey, where did all the pictures on that post go?) and there was the time I backed into a deep ditch of snow.

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Rebuilding the past

“Hey, did you hear about the brothel?”

“The what?”

“We found what we think might have been a brothel, upstairs from City Hall.”

“That’s pretty cool.”

“Do you want to see it?”

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The Rocklyn rabbit hole

Editor’s Note: The Rux homestead is on private property. The owner, whom you can learn more about in the comments section, has posted No Trespassing signs. Jerry is a great guy and more than willing to cooperate with photographers, provided they seek permission.

I get lost in detail sometimes.

When I got home from a road trip last week, I sat down to research the area I explored and the houses I found.

That’s when I fell down the Rocklyn rabbit hole.

Read more

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We have a new home … again

Life can change in the blink of an eye.

About a month ago, I was furiously packing up the apartment in Kamloops and getting ready to move Shep and me to a new home. I knew from the moment I set foot back in Kamloops last November that it was a temporary stay, no matter how many times my newspaper colleagues threatened that my position would become permanent and full time.

Trouble is, I’ve grown out of newspapers. The internet is too much fun. So, I took some time while on Employment Insurance to look for the right job this time. (I hope to find time to write more about that on That Angela this week but between a job, client work and being only five hours away from Spokane, I don’t get much free time to write for myself. This is a treat.)

I work in Kelowna now. I live in Summerland.

sandy beach in Summerland

I wake up in the morning, go for a 10-km run and enjoy coffee on my patio, while the sun rises over Naramata.

I get home from work to my favourite smiling face, pour a glass of wine and watch the stars twinkle in the clear, dark sky while bats whizz back and forth over my head.

It’s magical. It’s calming. And it is paradise.

I breathe deeply now and I sleep.

Those are new. They’re still strange to me. But I welcome them to my life.

And Shep smiles a lot.

He has a big backyard and a five-minute drive to water.

Shep at the Summerland dog beach

Then there are the other bonuses. I run past the old Gartrell barn every other day:

old barn in Summerland

It’s technically in Trout Creek, where James Gartrell and his family settled in 1887, after travelling from Ontario with their apple tree seedlings.

Let’s not forget the orchards and the wineries. There are at least 10 wineries within drivingstumbling distance of my house.

Like Sonoran Estates. This is the view from the bistro patio:

View of winery and Okanagan Lake

I’d tell you I have a spare bedroom … but I did mention I’m only five hours away from Spokane now, right?

Welcome to yet another adventure for Shep and me. We have a spare bedroom.

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The stories behind the buildings of Tranquille

I love a good story.

Tim McLeod, development manager of Tranquille Farm Fresh, tells one. Or two.

As a pickup truck pulled our wagon around the old streets of the Tranquille settlement, McLeod took the scattered threads of the area’s history and wove them into a colourful quilt.

There’s the one about how Tranquille got its name. (Fur traders gave Shuswap Chief Pacamoos the nickname for his tranquil nature.)

And the one about Lady Jane, wife of homesteader William Fortune, beating up the fellows who dared piss her off as she tended to the Tranquille Farm.

Or the Fortunes and the Cooneys taking in tuberculosis patients, well before the provincial Board of Health funded the construction of a sanatorium in 1909.

The buildings of the old tuberculosis sanatorium are boarded up — protected from curious eyes and spray-paint carrying graffiti artists — and some falling in their disrepair.

Like the doctor’s house, a beautiful century-old home that sticks out among the surrounding bungalows.

abandoned house

The whispers of the souls who passed their lives here ring loud in McLeod’s stories.

Like the single men who lived in this dormitory:

abandoned tuberculosis residence

The sanatorium administration separated the dorm from the single women’s residence by a field to prevent any shenanigans. But that didn’t stop anyone as many a young adult was seen traipsing through the field for some late-night lovin’.

Once Tranquille Farm Fresh community market opened last summer, the stories have been coming out of the woodwork. People approach Tim all the time with their stories of the Tranquille Farm and Medical Training Institution.

Like former residents, nurses and the women who drove the laundry and food carts in the tunnels below the city.

He’s enlisted the help of the Kamloops Heritage Society to record these stories.

And he wonders how to preserve and respect the rich history of the land as Tranquille Farm Fresh redevelops the property that once was the primary supplier of food to 1,000 people and many others off site.

He wonders how to rebuild and revive the activity at the farm’s piggery, cannery, abattoir, dairy, gardens, orchards and beef testing station, all silent since the government closed the farm in 1985.

There’s a vision to recreate the farm, the working waterfront and a sustainable community, centring the downtown around the old fire hall.

Old fire hall

And Tim and his staff are forging strong relationships with community groups to bring the area back to life. Like the local vintage car club, which rents storage space and has found a home for the original and restored Tranquille Farm pump truck.

old fire truck

He’s working with McElhanney engineers to determine which buildings can be saved. For instance, the Main’s middle section can be preserved but the wings will likely have to be reconstructed.

But the piece de resistance, the Greaves, built in 1927, is too far gone. When the A-Team movie filmed there a few years ago, the crew had to build an alternate roof for the helicopter-landing scenes.

“We’re thinking through what we can and can’t do to protect the history,” Tim says.

The underlying question he always asks is ‘how do you take history and built on it and respect it.

And that’s why the stories of the past are so important to Tim and the rest of the crew at Tranquille Farm Fresh.

“Kamloops owns this property emotionally,” he says. “We need to tap into what the people want and build on it.”

If you’re interested in learning more, Tranquille Farm Fresh offers guided tours throughout the summer on Saturdays, Sundays and long weekend Mondays.

A Heritage Tour
Unpack 6,000 years of fascinating history

Wildlife Watching Tours
Two hours of observing and photographing the birds and wildlife of Tranquille

Walking Photography Tour
A two-hour journey around mountain vistas, Kamloops Lake, heritage buildings and architectural elements

Eco Tour
Two hours of hiking through the Tranquille landscape

Gold Panning Tour
Seach for gold in the waters of the Tranquille River

You can reserve your spot on the tours by emailing cindy@tranquillefarmfresh.ca or calling 250-434-9690.

And don’t forget to visit the weekend market on Saturdays and Sundays to pick up fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables. The six-acre corn maze celebrates its grand opening on Aug. 3.

See more pictures on our Facebook page. (And like us there, too!)

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Cold weather camping in Idaho

Brrr.

I’m rarely envious of my Canadian friends who brave the typical wintry blast of weather we get on Victoria Day weekend. But it’s the official opening of camping season and thus they are steadfast in their defiance of Mother Nature.

So it seemed kind of crazy that CAMPING was my answer when Our American said ‘what do you want to do for Memorial Day weekend?’

And yes, I very much screeched my answer in all caps.

We survived our first night of roughing it as a couple at Farragut State Park in 2011 but we missed any chance to camp last year. (Fair’s fair, we spent three weeks on the road, travelling to Nova Scotia and back.)

We found a spot at Chatcolet Campground, Heyburn State Park, and started to plan what we’d need for supplies. I thought, ‘Heh heh, sucker friends camping on Victoria Day, I’m waiting a whole extra week before I go. It’ll be fine.’

Karma bit me right on the ass. My cold, rained-on ass.

Yep, we didn’t have any better weather by waiting a week, but the clouds, wind and rain didn’t deter us from two nights in the wilderness.

The clouds were foreboding as we rolled along the highway from Spokane Valley to Idaho.

Our American took control, setting up the campsite. At Chatcolet, the sites are about as rustic as you can get camping in a state park. It takes time to find a flat-enough spot for the tent and there are no showers, like at Banff National Park.

campsite

Heyburn is the oldest park in the Pacific Northwest. Created in 1908, it’s named for a U.S. senator who hated the idea of the federal government being involved in Indian affairs. The city of Heyburn in southern Idaho is named for good old Weldon, too.

Inspired by an upcoming allotment of land to the Coeur d’Alene tribe, he sponsored a bill in which he proposed that Chatcolet Lake be named a national park. He felt that state parks were “always a source of embarrassment.” While he was away from Washington, the bill came to a vote and was modified to allow the state of Idaho to purchase the land, turning it into exactly what he fear most. ~ Clark, B. (1998). A Falcon Guide: Scenic Driving Idaho. Morris Publishing.

So there.

Not many ventured out on the Friday, leaving us with a peaceful first evening. We huddled around the campfire, protected from the wind and occasional bursts of rain by giant ponderosa pines.

tall pine trees

On Saturday, we found a boardwalk to walk Shep and burn off some of his energy. The interpretive walk hosts signs that describe the wildlife and waterfowl you might see on your stroll.

We spied a trio of pelicans and a great blue heron in the distance but damned if my kit 75-200 lens is just too crappy to capture such an incredible moment. If you’re lucky (we weren’t), you might also spy bear, elk, moose, osprey, bald eagles and wild turkeys.

The best I can show you is some darned nice scenery.

marshy lake

Heyburn boasts 5,744 acres of land and 2,332 acres of water and Chatcolet campground is home to a trailhead for the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.

The trail is one of the most popular biking trails in the western U.S. and starts at a gorgeous park just west of Plummer, Idaho. The park is a memorial for fallen warriors and veterans of the Coeur d’Alene Indian tribe.

Memorial park with statue

The trail winds its way from Plummer to Mullan.

It’s 71 miles (114 km) of paved path that takes cyclists over the lake:

cycling, pedestrian bridge over a lake

Once over the lake, you’ll cycle along the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene, head into the Chain Lakes region, visit the historic Silver Valley of Idaho and finish in Mullan, just west of the Idaho-Montana border.

My one-day cycling record is 26 miles (42 km). I’ve taken my mountain bike from my old house in Calgary and almost all the way out to Chestermere. I’ve pedaled from my house in Kamloops around the North Shore and out to Westsyde and back. I’ve done a route from the house in Spokane Valley to Post Falls, Idaho, and back home again.

But 71 miles?

Maybe that’s something to consider when I invest in a road bike that’s lighter than my mountain bike. And I can go faster and farther.

In the meantime, though, I have another camping trip to plan.

Camping is a lot of work … from the preparation to Sunday’s takedown of the site and unpacking the truck once back home. But it all feels so worth it when I’m staring up at the stars with the two great loves of my life sitting on either side of me.

There’s nowhere I’d rather be.

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A quick drive around Saltese Flats

I watch too many episodes of Criminal Minds.

And I remember too well the creepy ones with plots centring around the Spokane, Wash., area. You know … there was the one with the brothers who played a hunting game … with people.

<shudder>

So, when an older fella kindly offered me the opportunity yesterday to take pictures of his root cellar, I politely declined.

Shep and I set out on a quick afternoon adventure, exploring the farmlands around Saltese Lake, just minutes away from My American’s house in the Spokane Valley.

I spied the area on a bike ride, looking for some hills to challenge myself without needing to drive anywere.

I found them both, making my first trek up East Saltese Road on the weekend.

On the loop, I passed the Saltese cemetery, established in 1892 and home to the original homesteaders of the area.

Old cemetery headstone in Saltese, Spokane Valley

And the one-room school, built in 1895 and later became the Greenacres Grange hall. It sits idle now, awaiting an architect’s interesting plan to turn it into single-family residence.

One-room school in Spokane Valley

It took only a couple days to get my hill legs back and I started to look for ways to make the route longer.

By the map, East Saltese Road turns into East 32 Avenue, which takes a hard left onto Barker, or keeps going as Saltese Lake Road. The lake road winds around to Henry, popping out into Liberty Lake. But I figured I should drive it first to check on the hills.

And, I thought, maybe Shep would like a jump in the lake.

The lake, it turns out, was drained by Peter Morrison in 1894 so he could farm the land.

He wanted to grow the finest Timothy hay west of the Mississippi, according to Spokane Valley Heritage Museum director Jayne Singleton.

So, no afternoon dip in the water for The Boss.

But that didn’t mean the day was a loss.

Once I turned the little Escape onto Henry Road, I spied jackpot. I drove past it once to hope for a parking spot but there was little shoulder to the rural road. I pulled a U, tucked the truck next to the intersection and walked back toward my goal.

Collapsed barn in Greenacres, Washington

To some, it’s just a pile of wood and rocks.

To me, it’s art.

And there’s a story there somewhere.

But what it is? The mystery was quickly solved.

As I reached my truck, a 1970s model pickup, deer grille on the front, canoe strapped to the top, pulled up alongside. An older gent leans out and says, “You’re not from around here.”

Nope. I imagine he saw my B.C. licence plates and I thought I’d strike up a conversation. If anyone knows the history of the area, it’s the folks who live around here.

After a bit of “get-to-know-you” chatter, he offered that the barn was the old stage stop for the area. It’s been there since long before he was born and it made its last standing breath a few years ago.

It sits untouched.

“If you look real close, you can see ruts in the fields where the wagons rolled through here a hundred years ago,” he said. “I tried to get people to do something about it, preserve them somehow, but nobody cared. Shame.”

I nodded in agreement.

And then …

“Well, hey, if you like taking pictures of old things, you can come on up and look at my root cellar.”

I followed with a nervous laugh and said, “Maybe not today. I have to get home and make the boyfriend dinner.”

He told me to have a great day and went off about his.

I’m sure it was a kindly, neighbourly thing to do, in that old-fashioned cowboy way.

But don’t horror movies start out like that? Or Criminal Minds episodes?

Ed’s note: In researching the Deep Creek church, I found a little bit more information about the Saltese schoolhouse. According to the Northwest College of the Bible website, church met in the schoolhouse under the leadership of Benjamin Edward Utz. The schoolhouse was built with volunteer labour in 1905 or 1906 and had a separate entrance for men and women.